FAS to have first elections by May
Lawyer Lim 'seriously considering' running for president
Singapore football will see new leadership take office by May next year.
The Football Association of Singapore (FAS) received unanimous agreement from all 38 of their 46 members who were present at its Extraordinary General Meeting (EOGM) on Monday night (Nov 7) to pass major amendments to a new constitution.
These changes will see football move away from having its leaders appointed by the government, and instead embrace a democratic election of its leadership.
The wheels are now in motion for this new constitution to be ratified by the Registry of Societies, the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), and the commissioner of charities, before the FAS can call for an election, which will happen by May next year.
"The most satisfying thing has been the unanimous vote of full confidence for the amendments," said FAS vice-president Lim Kia Tong, speaking to the media after presiding over the voting of the affiliates.
He headed the FAS team that put together these amendments, and is contemplating running for the leadership position.
"Having gone through the one-year journey to bring to fruition the FAS constitution that will pave the way for democratic elections in the FAS, it's perhaps also time for me to seriously consider setting up a team to manage the FAS, in the way modelled by the new constitution," said Lim.
The lawyer was a key figure in meetings with a number of affiliates over the new constitution.
There were several points of contention raised by Island Wide League side Gymkhana FC when the new constitution was proposed, ahead of the FAS Annual General Meeting on Sept 24, but The New Paper understands that compromises were made after several meetings between Lim and Gymkhana official R Vengadasalam in the lead-up to last night's EOGM.
Issues raised included the eligibility criteria for the presidential candidate and the number of members that make up the FAS council, which is the organisation's decision-making body, but Venga and his team agreed to concede these points.
Said Lim: "We have moved along a very tedious journey and have worked closely and communicated constantly with officials from Fifa and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC)… and this vote demonstrates how the football fraternity have found the ingredients of these amendments very palatable."
The term of the current council headed by president Zainudin Nordin runs out on Tuesday, and in accordance with procedure, a provisional council will be appointed after the FAS meets with the MCCY.
The New Paper had earlier reported that Fifa rules may prevent Lim, who is also deputy chairman of Fifa's disciplinary committee, from running for a position in the FAS council, but the lawyer revealed that he will be getting in touch with the world football governing body on the matter.
Article 5.1 of the Fifa Governance Regulations states that in order to be considered independent as required for certain positions (for example as members of judicial bodies of Fifa), a candidate or a holder of such position may not, among others, hold an official function in a confederation or a member association during the four years preceding the initial term.
These Fifa rules were put in place earlier this year, and seem to be aimed at preventing situations where a conflict of interest could arise, but Lim asserts that he has already displayed an ability to rise above that.
In 2012, Lim, as chairman of the AFC disciplinary committee, made the decision to extend the provisional suspension of Mohamed Hammam, the then-president of the AFC, one of the key men who appointed him to his AFC role in the first place.
"To me it's a point where they put too much emphasis on the person, assuming he will compromise his position in the judicial process," he said.
"I hope to be in conversation with (Fifa)."
Affiliates decide to move forward
Last night, the Football Association of Singapore (FAS) received the mandate from its affiliates to pass the proposed constitution that will allow for a democratic election of new leadership, and the wheels are now in motion.
There were 40 points of contention in the FAS' proposed constitution raised by R Vengadasalam and Alfred Dodwell of Island Wide League (IWL) side Gymkhana FC.
While they came to an agreement with the FAS on several points, there were some points which they still felt were not addressed, but in the end, they felt passing the constitution was a necessary first step for Singapore football to move forward.
S.League club Hougang United were the only other club to raise issues, putting forward two points.
"We did not agree to everything, but because we wanted, in good faith, to move forward, we let it go. The constitution is a work in progress and down the line future councils can raise these issues again," said former Woodlands Wellington manager, Venga.
Dodwell, a lawyer, drew up Gymkhana's 40-point counter-proposal together with Venga.
"It was nice to be in a room filled with people who wanted to do what is best for football. We proposed and they (FAS) were prepared to accept some," he said.
"We concede some in the interest of ensuring we have a conflict-free night for football. We can be proud of the 100 per cent unanimous vote for the main document that governs Singapore football - this is the start of a new chapter."
The grapevine was awash with talk that there were fissures within the team, but it was rubbished by the group's only named candidate for the FAS election, Dodwell.
"In all teams there will always be disagreements. We are now forming up with a very strong line-up of candidates and we're maybe three more away from putting forward a young, vibrant dynamic team," he said, declining to reveal names or when the announcement will happen.
Former journalist Suresh Nair has been working behind the scenes garnering support for a team, and yesterday he gave the first indication that there could well be a multi-cornered contest - including that to be put forward by the current FAS leadership.
"I will name my team when FAS gives the date for the FAS Congress," he said, pointing to the date that the affiliates come together to vote on the new leadership.
But Suresh remained open to sitting down with other groups to field the best possible candidates, though he insisted in keeping his cards close to his chest.
"Why should anyone beat their chest before things are certain?"
- SHAMIR OSMAN
What happens next
- Submit new constitution to the Registry of Societies (ROS), Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) and commissioner of charities for approval
- Formulate and approve Electoral Code
- Call for election
- Open for nominations
- Electoral Committee integrity checks
- Appeals for those who fail integrity checks, and integrity checks for replacement candidates
- Notify affiliates of final list of candidates who will stand for election at least 10 days before actual election
- Candidates' campaigning efforts
- New FAS Council takes office